“Once Upon A Time” star Lana Parrilla talks SwanQueen, fan art and Season 4

Once Upon A Time was the first show I recapped here on AfterEllen, and it was the passion of the SwanQueen fans in that first Femslash Tournament that called for the show to be recapped in the first place. The fandom grew and grew with each passing episode, and this year, in the third annual Femslash Madness Tournament, SwanQueen was crowned victorious.

We reached out to Lana Parrilla to chat about her win, her thoughts on SwanQueen, and what we can look forward to seeing Regina get up to in Season 4. I’m not even going to pretend you’re here to read anything else I have to say, so without further ado, ladies and gentleshippers, Lana Parrilla.

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AfterEllen: As I’m sure you’ve heard, one of the reasons we asked for this interview right now was because we recently had a femslash tournamentbasically, fictional women we wish were couplesand SwanQueen won.

Lana Parrilla: Surprising! [laughs] But fantastic!

AE: I was wondering if you had any opinions on what you think it is about Emma and Regina and their dynamic that makes people really want them to get together.

LP: I think they’re two very strong, powerful, intelligent, attractive women. [laughs] Sorry, I’m biased. You’ve got a brunette with brown eyes—dark, sultry—and then you have this blonde, blue-eyed, very—Emma has a different quality from Regina. She’s definitely more athletic, more active, stronger physically in a different way than Regina would be. And Regina has a different internal power and that’s also very attractive, and a witch, and a humor, and a sassiness that we all love about her. She can be very snarky. And there are a lot of qualities that make these two characters connect and I can see why people would want them to be together. There’s also been tension between them throughout the years and they’re fighting and at each other’s throats, but not ever really physically hurting one another, and so there’s that tension that I think that can be perceived as very sexual by a lot of our audience, especially our SwanQueens.

AE: I definitely agree. Do you ever get to see any of the fan videos or the fan art or anything like that?

LP: Oh, yeah! Some of it’s stunning, some of these drawings—they have these animated drawings of us and they have these beautiful, gorgeous sketches that I’ve seen. I think it’s beautiful. There’s a LOT of fanart out there—a TON. I actually own a lot of it, too. Some of it is just so beautiful, I even have some hanging on my wall. I don’t have any SwanQueen art hanging on my wall as of yet, but I do have a beautiful painting of the Evil Queen, which is just stunning.

AE: Did you ever anticipate being such an icon for lesbian and bisexual women from this role? How has that been for you?

LP: I wasn’t expecting it, because, you know, it’s not the story that the producers are telling, so when I’m working on Regina, I’m mostly focused on the story that they’re telling. It did come as a surprise to me, just because it was nothing I was anticipating, but I love all of our fans. There’s a lot of different ships on our show: The Robin Hood and Regina ship, there’s the Captain Hook and Emma Swan ship, sometimes they’ve even paired up the Aurora and Mulan ship. I support all ships—I really do. I support all of the relationships that they’ve paired up and even whatever the audience is hopefully wishing for. I just love that our audience can see these characters and they can relate to them in so many different ways. And with Regina and Emma being both moms, I can see that it’s a ship that is obvious and one that a lot of lesbians would support and hope for.

AE: Do you have a favorite Regina and Emma scene that you’ve shot so far?

LP: Yeah, there’s a ton. There’s a ton of them! One of my favorite ones is, I think it was the end of the second season, when they were both in the cave and they were holding onto that massive diamond—forgive me, I can’t remember what it was called in the script because it was over a year and a half ago—but throughout the first two seasons, we saw these two women at each other’s throats and it was the first time where you actually saw them supporting one another and working together, and that was a big turning point for our characters. That was one of my favorite scenes.


AE: Emma and Regina worked so hard to get to where they are, and to get along. Will Emma bringing Marian back throw a wrench into that this season?

LP: Yes, I think so. [laughs] But again, it’s the tension that we love to see between these two characters. Yes, I think Regina feels massively betrayed by Emma and that will have its repercussions throughout the season. Emma will feel a distance, a hatred, and an anger directed towards her from Regina. However, these two women have gotten very close, obviously, because they share a son. And really, at the end of the day, they are family. So I can’t see either one of them physically hurting one another or ever leading to death or wanting to kill one another, because at the end of the day they are family, and they will have familial conflict and arguments and such, but I think they’ll find a way to resolve.